A top Red Hat executive has accused arch-rival Novell of reselling a beta version of the company's open source code.

The dispute concerns Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise Real Time 10 (SLERT 10), which Novell released last week. The product is aimed at Wall Street traders and other organisations that need real-time functionality. Real-time software can carry out operations within a guaranteed time frame, something required for certain industries and to operate some kinds of electronics.

However, Red Hat today launches its own version of real-time Linux, Red Hat Enterprise MRG (Messaging, RealTime, Grid) aimed at exactly the same market. RH said it's part of the company's automation strategy, details of which it released last month.

At the London launch of MRG, line of business VP Scott Crenshaw said that the Utah-based rival had used beta versions of Red Hat's code in its offering. "They haven't contributed a line of code", he said. As a result of this change of code, he argued that "all their prior users are cut off" from previous versions.

Previous versions of Novell's SLERT were based on Linux kernel tweaks by developers from both Novell and Concurrent Computer. However, according to an IT Jungle article, this new version of SLERT uses real-time extensions to the Linux 2.6.22 kernel that were developed by key members of the Linux and real-time operating system communities, put together under the name of CONFIG_PREEMPT_RT patch set.

Novell had not responded to the accusation at the time this news was published.